Tuesday, May 25, 2010

House Intelligence Committe Hearing on Global Climate Change

Via the Politico's Morning Energy Blog, I learned that today (Tuesday, May 25), the Subcommittee on Intelligence Community Management of the US House Representatives' Permanent Subcommittee on Intelligence will hold a hearing on Global Climate Change.  The hearing will be closed, so I don't have much information on it. 

I would speculate that the hearing will look at how the Intelligence Community is arranging its resources to look at climate change.  Currently, both the CIA and the National Intelligence Council (NIC), within the DNI, have programs looking at climate change.  The NIC's unit, on climate change and state stability is led by General Rich Engel, who has spoken at IISS events in the past.  The CIA's unit - which survived a motion to defund it last October - is called "The Center on Climate Change and National Security", and is tasked with providing "support to American policymakers as they negotiate, implement, and verify international agreements on environmental issues."  Previously, the Department of Energy's Office of Intelligence and Counterintelligence had also had an Energy and Environmental Security section, led by Carol Dumaine (video of her hear) but that was unfortunately closed up earlier this year.  The IISS-US held an event titled "Security, Climate Change and Uncertainty: Rethinking Strategic Risk” with Carol late last year.

Clearly, with the closing of the Department of Energy's climate unit, and the opening of the CIA's climate shop, there is some reorganizing going on.  This will also be a good opportunity for the intelligence community to demonstrate to Congress the utility of making the climate security argument.  It is difficult to avoid the political debate about cap-and-trade, but they should get beyond that debate.  There is a real need to look at national security impacts of climate change, and the adaptation measures that can avoid it.

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